Zhang Yongze, former vice-chairman of the government of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, has been indicted on charges of taking bribes of about 51.8 million yuan ($7 million), and he pleaded guilty in court on Thursday.
The Xi'an Intermediate People's Court of Shaanxi province heard his case in public for the first time. Zhang confessed his crimes and made a final statement. The court will issue the verdict later.
Prosecutors said that from 2003 to 2021, Zhang made use of different previous public posts including head of the region's Environmental Protection Department, Party chief of the region's Lhokha prefecture and the vice-chairman of the government of the autonomous region, to provide assistance to certain companies and individuals in matters such as project contracting, environmental impact assessment approval and job promotion. In return, he directly or through others, accepted a total of more than 51.81 million yuan in property.
Prosecutors requested that Zhang be held criminally responsible for the crime of bribery.
Zhang, 54, spent most of his career life in Tibet after he began work in 1997. He was placed under discipline review and supervisory investigation by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission, China's top anti-graft bodies, in January 2022.
In July 2022, Zhang was expelled from the Party and removed from his public posts. Later, the Supreme People's Procuratorate approved the arrest of him after the NSC concluded the investigation. The Xi'an People's Procuratorate was designated to examine the case and initiate the prosecution.
In September 2022, the Xi'an People's Procuratorate launched the prosecution.